It was a long holiday weekend – I spent it at Comicpalooza, and Patrick spent it at home with Simon. Overall, a fairly relaxed weekend for all involved, and I made it home early on Monday (just after lunch). Nice, easy afternoon…except when Simon decided that we should go out to Denny’s for dinner. We convinced him that we weren’t going, instead ran a quick errand to the store, an option that often works as his “reset” button when he gets stuck, and came back home.
All the while, Simon kept talking about school and gymnastics. School on Tuesday morning. Gymnastics after school. It was all set. It was all good.
Then I got an email around 11 a.m. Gymnastics was canceled this week. And it would be canceled next week. After that, the time would shift, but they would be pro-rating our tuition to make up for the two missed classes.
Oh. My. God.
A last minute schedule change.
You people out there who deal with kids on the spectrum, kids who know which day is which, kids who have *planned* their days. You know how I was feeling right about then.
It’s never easy to re-direct Simon from one thing to another, especially when that first thing is totally ingrained into the schedule or his life. He expects his gymnastics to be there, and if they aren’t…well, we all hear about it.
It would be okay, though. My migraine seemed to be (mostly) gone, and so the plan would be to take him to the library – another favorite of his – and then, since he had been asking for Denny’s, we would go ahead and do that. It would be a totally reset. We hoped.
Except that, while I was out, drinking the coffee that was supposed to help make sure that my migraine was gone, gone gone, the migraine came back, back, back. First as an ocular migraine, which I realized when I stood up and noticed that the left side of the room had vanished, and then as a full-fledged, pounding through my left eye headache.
Luckily, Patrick could make it home early. He got Simon off the bus, convinced him of the wonder of the schedule change – “The library! What an awesome place! Let’s go there instead!” – and took him out while I laid in bed, trying to make my head stop pounding.
They got back a little earlier than I expected, and I was still trying to convince my head to stop hurting enough that I could actually eat without throwing up. Once it was close enough, we headed to Denny’s.
Of course, today Simon has been bringing up gymnastics again, but I think I’ve convinced him that the break in the schedule will be like any other break we take from things, like when the school year ends or the horseback riding semester ends. Not much warning, but at least we’ve avoided Denny’s today, and hopefully we can keep avoiding it for a few more days…
So, of course, the post about not judging me wound up on the wrong blog.
The party/dance was a success!
Chili’s was a success!
But then, with those exciting events past him, Simon began looking ahead in the calendar.
He flipped up the pages until something caught his eye.
That something was the Fourth of July. Because fireworks.
We’ve only been going to the fireworks for a few years now, but it’s been a huge hit. We actually go to a local community college and kip out on the lawn with a huge group of other people, and we sit around on blankets and watch and listen to the fireworks. It’s one of the few times that Simon manages to stay awake beyond 8 p.m.
So at tonight’s Parent Support Meeting, I brought it up as an issue because one of the ideas to help kids deal with summer was to use a calendar.
Yeah. Use a calendar to make things better.
One of the other attendees pointed out, “What if it rains?”
Because, yeah, I also want to worry about fireworks being rained out.
Well, the presenter tonight (Nancy Kling from Behavior Plus) suggested trying to limit the discussion about what was coming up. Set a timer – he can only discuss it and bring it up every so often.
I’m not sure if it’ll work. But I’m willing to try. Especially if the other option is a month and a half of wanting to go to fireworks…
I know, I know, it’s wrong to hate. And I know, I know, Chili’s had this huge publicity splurge when a “heroic” waitress fixed a cheeseburger for a little girl with autism. (Really? Heroic? By bringing the kid a new burger? I’d like to be a hero for swapping out a single meal…please don’t take that the wrong way – it was awesome of her to be understanding, but I just don’t think it quite qualifies as heroic…)
Now where was I?
I hate Chili’s.
I don’t suppose it’s actually their fault that I hate them.
Here’s the thing: on Sunday, we were grocery shopping. It’s a tight week for cash, so we were buying chili and Ritz crackers (I swear, they’re great together if you’ve never tried them), and Simon saw that we were buying chili. He heard us say “chili” multiple times.
And he decided that we were going to eat at Chili’s.
Even though we weren’t.
All day Sunday, Simon told us that we were going to Chili’s for dinner. We convinced him that we would do it later on in the week.
On Monday, Simon kept bringing it up. We agreed with him that, yes, we would go to Chili’s. We pointed out that he had gymnastics on Tuesday, so we would go to Chili’s on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, Simon went to gymnastics. He told Robert, one of his coaches, that we were going to Chili’s for dinner. Robert didn’t know better. Robert agreed.
After gymnastics, I was treated to ear-splitting demands on going to Chili’s. Crying. Complaining. More crying. More complaining. Repetitious demands. It went on and on and on.
Eventually, we convinced him to wait for another day.
This morning, Patrick got Simon out of bed. Got Simon ready for school. Went over the day with him…
And Chili’s came back into the mix.
I’m about to go outside and wait for Simon’s bus.
It will be at least two hours before we to go Chili’s.
Wish me luck.
Realize that you’ve never actually helped your son put on his baseball uniform about twenty minutes before the game. Dad always does that. But Dad is away on business, and you now have to figure out how to pull up tight knee high socks on a kid who isn’t wildly fond of socks to being with and then somehow wiggle him into baseball pants that are possibly a size too small, but he says they feel “fine.”
Get to the game five minutes before it starts, which is cutting it a bit close. Drop your son off into the field and go sit in the stands. Play a game on your phone while he plays catch with two older boys, knowing that at least one person is silently judging you for not spending every second watching your son play when, in reality, you just want a quick break while he seems completely content.
Listen to your son scream “Enough!” multiple times and not know when enough is literally enough and you should step in to try to stop him instead of letting other people try to handle it. Because, it turns out, while playing catch was cool, now that it’s time for the actual game to start, he has discovered that Dad isn’t there, and what was cool is now meltdown city.
Try to figure out if you made a mistake by going over to him to try to calm him down when it seems to make him repeat “Dad will be home soon” more. Reassure him until you feel like the only words you know how to say anymore are, “Yes, Dad will be home tomorrow morning,” and then tell him that you will be waiting in the stands and watching him. Wait for him to agree, then go back to the stands and sit on the edge of the bench, hoping that you don’t need to run back out to calm him down again.
Wonder why people are cheering as your son has a meltdown on the ball field. Yes, you know that they are trying to make him happy, but cheering when he cries tends to have the opposite effect. He will probably believe they are cheering on his crying, and therefore he will cry more because he has a receptive audience. Consider telling them to shut up, but know they are only trying to help, and instead get up and try to talk to him through the fence, even though you also wonder if they will continue to judge you for saying, “Simon, no!” as he keeps doing the sign language for Dad, followed by hitting himself in the head (well, helmet, technically) while both coaches try to get him to bat.
Let him get to first base after hitting the ball, and then go get him because he is refusing to move to second base and instead cries for Dad to be there.
Forget to pick up your son’s baseball pictures because he is yelling and crying and you only want to get him into the car and go to Starbucks to hope that the coffee helps you calm down (because it won’t help him calm down, but it’ll definitely calm you down).
When your son says, “I want a banana,” say, “Of course! Everyone knows that bananas make everything better!” (Okay, maybe that’s not actually being the worst mother…but it’s totally lying.)
Settle onto the couch with him, under his awesome weighted blanket, and read a book with him until he’s finally hit the level of calm that will make him happy.
Then get him lunch and write a blog about how horrible a mother you are.
Okay, so I didn’t make my post a day for the month because things got crazy, as usual, but I do plan on writing up some posts that didn’t make it, so expect to see a bunch more posts over the next few days.
But Autism Awareness month is over in another few minutes, and I just wanted to end it on a high note for anyone following me.
Today, Patrick needed to get his tire fixed. It blew out, and he’s been driving on the donut for long enough. Earlier today, while Simon was in school, we dropped it off. But we weren’t able to pick it up until Simon was home from school.
In the past, this has been a problem. We couldn’t go in one car and then separate out into two. It was too much for him; he didn’t understand why we did it, and he would invariably spend the five minute drive home crying and screaming for whichever of us wasn’t in the car.
We tried it tonight.
Told him that we were going to pick up Dad’s car. Told him that the tire had been fixed, but that we needed to drive it home. Told him that he could pick who he wanted to drive back home with.
And we went to pick up the car…
Simon did get stuck on the idea of the tire being fixed. He didn’t get the time in the statement, and he kept telling us that the tire was being fixed. We’d tell him again that it was already fixed, and that we were just getting it, but he kept saying it was being fixed…it was being fixed.
It wasn’t important. We let it go.
Then it came time for the hard part.
We asked him who he wanted to drive home with. He said Mom.
We explained, again, that would mean that Dad would be in the other car. He would follow us, and then we’d all be home together.
He insisted that he wanted to go with Mom.
So he climbed into the back seat of the Jeep, and off we went, with Patrick following.
And it was okay.
He kept telling me that Dad was following, and when we stopped at the sign as we entered the neighborhood, Simon turned around, saw Patrick in the other car, waved, and said “Hi Dad!”
Then we were home.
And everything was fine.
(Until he remembered that the dance was coming up again…but that’s another story…)
Simon was excited about Earth Day. He told me last night that it would be Earth Day tomorrow and that he was going to pick flowers. And apparently he did, as is evidenced in the awesome photo. He brought it home with him, and I’m not sure how/when they did it at school, but he brought it home, and it’s super pretty, I think. I’m framing it up and keeping it because it’s awesome.
That said, beyond that, this blog isn’t about Earth Day.
This is about what happens when things get cancelled at the last minute.
Today is Wednesday – the day that Simon normally goes horseback riding. He got home from school, we bundled him up in the car with a quick snack and some juice, and then we went to Sonic before horseback riding. (He is in a much better mood if he has dinner before he goes riding.)
It’s a long drive out there. About an hour if we’re lucky, an hour and a half if we’re not, and that’s when we’re using the tollway, which cuts down on time but costs extra. But it’s worth it.
Except that today, as we were eating our dinner at Sonic, my cell phone rang. I didn’t answer – it was a local number I didn’t recognize, and I don’t normally answer calls when I don’t know who it is.
Luckily, I checked it before we left Sonic.
It was SIRE, calling to let us know that because of some serious storms in area – storms that were producing hail and 70 mph winds – the lesson tonight would be cancelled.
She suggested we stay home and avoid the weather.
She obviously didn’t realize that we were about five minutes away.
So….how to handle the situation?
Simon is not good with change.
Simon is not good with it when something he wants is suddenly not his anymore.
Simon was really, really looking forward to seeing Kansas.
We went to SIRE. We let him use the bathroom, we showed him that it was starting to rain, and we were going to talk to the people there, but they were off, taking care of the horses. Instead, we explained to him, repeatedly, that the horses would be scared by the storms, and so there wouldn’t be a lesson tonight. We asked him if he wanted the horses to be scared, and he said no.
Then we left.
And he cried. He got upset. He was not a happy camper by any stretch of anyone’s imagination.
I told him it was okay to cry. It was okay to be upset. But he needed to get over it.
We took him “shopping” at some of the big box stores down the road. We wandered around, letting him get something for the drive and also giving ourselves a bit of a break before hitting rush hour traffic on the way home.
And next week, hopefully there will be horseback riding.